Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Overwatch Year of the Rooster event brings nerfs to Ana, D.Va

The Overwatch Year of the Rooster event is live! Scheduled to run from January 24 to February 13, the event brings with it a slate of new character skins, cosmetics, victory poses, and highlight intros, as well as a new capture-the-flag mode called Capture the Rooster.

The update also heralds the latest round of balance changes that have been being tested on the PTR—primarily nerfs to Ana and D.Va, the long-awaited fix to Roadhog's hook, and a small buff to Sombra. Here's everything that's changing:

Ana's Biotic Grenade has been dialed back pretty significantly—the healing boost it applies to allies has been reduced by 50 percent. "The healing boost from Ana's Biotic Grenade was providing too much healing," reads the developer comments, "especially when used on targets with large health pools." The grenade's effect duration has also been reduced from five to four seconds.

In D.Va's case—one of the aforementioned large health pools—her life total remains at 600, but now only 200 of it is armor, as opposed to 400 before. Her guns have also been tweaked to only do two damage per bullet (down from three) but increasing bullets per shot from eight to 11. 

"D.Va's armor often made her feel like she had no weaknesses, even against heroes that are often effective against bigger targets (like Reaper). The changes to her Fusion Cannons will result in a small overall decrease in damage, but they should feel more consistent now," Blizzard said.

Ana's healing ability combined with the buffs that D.Va received in the last Overwatch balance change led to a dominant strategy that featured D.Va, Reinhardt, and a third tank as the backbone of many team compositions, allowing Ana's rapid healing to take advantage of their massive health pools. These Ana and D.Va nerfs should help shake up that 'triple-tank' meta and allow other team compositions to once again be viable.

The patch also includes the long-awaited fix to Roadhog's hook. The fix makes it so hooked targets are now released if they leave Roadhog's line of sight before being pulled (meaning no more frustrating hooks around corners or through walls). Hooked targets are also now pulled directly in front of Roadhog, rather than straight to him. "The hook should now feel more consistent for Roadhog players," reads the developer comments, "but it should also feel more reasonable to his enemies, as they cannot be hooked or pulled around corners anymore."

The stealthy hacker Sombra received a small buff, decreasing the time it takes to hack a target from 1 second to 0.8 seconds, as well as reducing the cooldown on Hack from 12 seconds to eight. "Sombra often had difficulty hacking enemies, even when she surprised the target. This change should help her execute hacks more easily," Blizzard said. Finally, Lúcio can now wall ride backwards.

Hero abilities and headshots are now displayed in the kill feed, and a very small cooldown has been added to crouch. (Take that, tea baggers!) Other additions include a new emote wheel, allowing players to equip up to four emotes, sprays, and voice lines from within the hero gallery, as well as a slew of bug fixes and, as always, fixing heroes being able to reach unintended locations. 

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